In a heartwarming gesture, children of a primary school in Assam voluntarily gave up their midday meal for a day so that eight orphaned rhino calves, saved from the flooded Kaziranga park, could be given milk.
These children are students of the Nepali Khuti Banuwa LP School near Oriole Park, 7 km east of Bokakha.
According to their headmaster, they were deeply moved by the plight of the rhino babies struggling to survive without their mother’s milk and wanted to do something to help feed them.
So the children sought permission in writing from their headmaster to go without their midday meal and donate the money to the Centre for Wildlife Rescue and Conservation (CWRC). The headmaster forwarded the application to the block elementary education officer Barman Teron, who was moved by the children’s desire to help and gave permission for them to proceed.
However, the money collected from the children giving up their midday meal was only enough to procure one six litre packet of milk. According to midday meal rules, each child gets Rs 3.78 per meal from the government. Therefore, the total amount came to approximately Rs 300, while a packet of milk costs Rs 287.
Deeply inspired by the generosity of the children, other people then came forward to help. Seven others, including teachers, managing committee members, businessmen and others gave donations so that more milk packets could be bought.
Headmaster Bubul Dutta told The Telegraph:“We handed over eight packets of milk powder to CWRC head Rathin Barman in the presence of NRL official P.K. Baruah and block resource person Pradip Sharma. From one packet about six litres of milk can be produced and one rhino calf needs 20 litres per day.”
According to Barman, “Never have I come across an instance where I was told by the teacher that children below 12 had on their own given up a meal for the sake of wildlife.”
“The eight packets will provide at least two milk meals to the eight calves, each meal comprising about 2.5 litres,” he said.